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Donald and Daisy Greet Guests During the Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at the Magic Kingdom Park

Your Chance To Vote And Cheer On Your Disney Side With Top Four Colleges

posted on December 16th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


As our favorite college football teams kicked off the season this fall ESPN gave college cheer and dance teams something really big to cheer about – their Disney Side.

Dozens of squads from across the country choreographed routines to one of four Disney Parks inspired songs and submitted their videos as part of the Cheer On Your Disney Side competition sponsored by ESPN, working in collaboration with Disney Destinations and Varsity Spirit.

Last week the four finalists were announced; Auburn University, Louisiana State University, Rutgers University and Santa Monica College.

Well now it’s your turn to get into the game and vote for your favorite video at Espn.com/CheerMagic. The school with the most votes wins. And fans who vote are entered into an ESPN sweepstakes to win a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. Rules may be found at Espn.com/CheerMagic.

Online voting ends on January 6 and the winning squad will be announced on ESPN before the College Football National Championship Game on Jan. 12 in Dallas. The winning cheer or dance squad will earn a $100,000 grant from ESPN for its college spirit program and a team trip to Walt Disney World Resort.

To help you make your decision we will profile each school over the next two weeks right here on the Disney Parks Blog. You will see and hear how each team incorporated their Disney Side with their school spirit in the making of their video.

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We kick off our behind the scenes series with the Auburn Tigers. They selected “it’s a small world” and featured several of their favorite Disney attractions. Take a look at their submission video and then a behind the scenes feature.

This year, Disney Parks is encouraging people to show their Disney Side’– their fun-loving adventurous side that laughs more, says “yes” more and just plain lives life to the fullest.

ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort has been the home of Varsity Spirit’s College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship, the premier athletic competition for these teams, for over 20 years. Varsity Spirit has been a driving force behind cheerleading’s dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today. Focused on safety, entertainment and school leadership, Varsity Spirit conducts educational camps, administrates competitions and provides apparel for more than 350,000 cheerleaders and dancers.

Cheer Your Disney Side Promotion By ESPN.
No purchase necessary. Ends 11:59 PM ET on 1/6/15. Must be a legal resident of the (50) U.S. or DC, 18 years or older, or the age of majority. Limit 1 entry/vote per person & per email per day. For prize details, odds of winning & complete Official Rules, go to www.espn.com/CheerMagic. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: ESPN Internet Ventures, New York, NY.

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Young Super Hero Celebrates Life At runDisney Diaper Dash

posted on December 14th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Even before taking the start line during Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort, 11-month-old Nolan Wyatt from Rochester, WA, had already taken on a race and won.

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That’s right, the runDisney Diaper Dash was not Nolan’s first race, his first race was one for survival. Having difficulties breathing at birth, it was quickly diagnosed that Nolan was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a hole in the diaphragm that allowed internal organs to enter the chest cavity and prevent normal lung development. Within hours, Nolan was flown by medical helicopter to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he underwent life saving surgery.

After months of recovery it was time for this little super hero who fought through so much in his young life to celebrate with his parents, and what better way than to runDisney, or should we say crawlDisney.

“Nolan’s crawling the Diaper Dash to show how much he has overcome in his first year of life,” said Julie Wyatt, Nolan’s mother. “Just to show what he is capable of and to celebrate his life.”

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After hours of training, dressed in his Captain America outfit, and cheered on by family and Captain America himself, Nolan was ready to ‘start’ a new chapter in life.

#WhyIrunDisney is dedicated to sharing compelling and motivational human-interest stories. To view submissions and to learn how to upload your story, visit irundisney.com.

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Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

posted on December 8th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


One year ago 9-year-old Adisen Kallas made a wish with her family in front of Cinderella Castle. She wished that her dad, Navy SEABEE UT1 Scott Kallas, would return from deployment in Afghanistan in time to watch her dance at the 2014 Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. At that time Scott was preparing for his fifth military deployment.

Well Adisen, wishes do come true.

Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Soldier Fulfills Daughter’s Wish At ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

What happened on Saturday after Adisen and the Mighty Might Tri Town Raiderettes dance team from Schererville, IN, performed was nothing short of magical. It is a moment you will want to watch for yourself.

Welcome home Scott Kallas. Thank you for serving our country and showing all of us that wishes do come true.

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‘Cool’ Bling Highlights Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Medals

posted on November 29th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you are registered and training for the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, then this blog post is for you. Today, runDisney is happy to reveal the “Frozen“-inspired medals waiting for you at the finish line.

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For our youngest runners in the runDisney Kids Races and those of you taking on the Disney Frozen 5K, you will notice the very ‘cool’ medallions inspired by “Frozen.”

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The Princess Enchanted 10K acknowledges your accomplishment and features a “Frozen” inspired snowflake.

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The Disney Princess Half Marathon features the traditional tiara that our runners have come to love and want. Does anyone else notice that the jewels on the medal look a lot like Queen Elsa’s favorite color?

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And of course for those taking on the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge by running the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday, the third medal featuring Cinderella’s glass slipper compliments your weekend collection. Take note of Queen Elsa’s favorite color circling the medal.

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Three beautiful medals fit for a princess.

Now, if you are not yet registered and wondering how you can get your bling, I can tell you there are a few spots still open through groups and charities. Details on those opportunities can be found at runDisney.com.

Good luck with your training and we look forward to seeing you in February.

For additional information on the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and to register for upcoming runDisney events, visit runDisney.com.

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Real Super Heroes at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 26th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


I love runDisney finish lines. Short of running and crossing myself, there is no place I would rather be during an event weekend. The shouts of joy, tears of happiness and the pure emotion of runners achieving their goals is amazing.

Although it is exciting to see the winners and top finishers cross, it’s the runners in the middle of the pack and at the end of the race where I find the most inspiration. For many of these athletes, and yes they are athletes, it is their first race. They set a goal, trained hard and are now experiencing one of the greatest accomplishments in their lives. Others are running for a cause dear to their heart. And for some of these runners they battled hardship on the course and are digging deep to make it to the finish.

If you follow my posts you know one of my favorite stories to produce are profiles on last-place finishers. Partly because I like to point out that runDisney treats the last place finisher just like race winners with fanfare, music and confetti, but also because I like to share what motivated and gave those runners the will to finish. My hope is their stories inspire others to get off the couch, try running, adopt a healthy active lifestyle and join us for a runDisney event.

Recently at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort, I set out to do that story again. Fortunately for all of us I ended up getting a story with a little more meaning – an inspirational story that focuses on selfless sportsmanship.

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Now, I’m not going to give you all the details in this blog post because I am hoping you will watch and see the story unfold as it did for me. But what I will tell you is that on race day Cambrey Fuller from South Jordan, UT, met an angel, a true super hero, Ashley White from Phoenix, AZ.

On behalf of all of us at runDisney, congratulations Cambrey for crossing the finish line, and thank you Ashley for being a super hero. This is what running and runDisney are all about.

For more information on runDisney and to register for an upcoming event, visit runDisney.com.

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Runners Show Off Their ‘Super Hero Side’ at Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

posted on November 19th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you participate in a runDisney event, or simply come out to support a runner, one of the first the first things you notice is the variety of costumes runners wear during the race. From beloved Disney character-inspired outfits to dressing for the theme of the race, the creativity is amazing and unique to a runDisney event. And this weekend’s inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort set the bar a little higher.

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For several years now, I have had the privilege to stand at the start and finish lines for several runDisney events, and in my humble opinion, costumes this past weekend rank #1. Runners went above and beyond expectations in creating and designing their super hero alter ego. It was my observation that the most popular costume for men and women was Captain America, closely followed by Thor and Hulk. Thanks to our runners, I was introduced to super hero characters I didn’t know existed.

It really was amazing and now I can’t wait to see what Star Wars runners do in January!!

On Sunday, Disney photographer Matt Stroshane went in search of ‘super’ creative costumes. We hope you will enjoy the photo gallery featuring a few super heroes who took on and defeated 13.1 miles at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

For more information and to register for an upcoming runDisney event, visit runDisney.com.

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Runners Assemble For Victory at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort

posted on November 18th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Back In February, runDisney invited runners to assemble for the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort. When registration opened in March, the response was overwhelming and the race sold out in 110 minutes.

Well, this past weekend more than 18,000 runners representing all 50 states and 12 countries reported for duty and participated in the runDisney Kids Races, the Avengers Super Heroes 5K and the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. The excitement was electric.

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Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye were on hand to join forces and cheer on our youngest athletes participating in the Diaper Dash and Kids Races, and our more experienced athletes running through Disneyland park, Disney California Adventure park and Angel Stadium.

William Prom from Irvine, Calif., Overall Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Winner Alex de la Huerta from Mexico City, Mexico - Who Won the Woman's Title at the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

Congratulations goes out to all our finishers, but I would like to extend special recognition to William Prom from Irvine, Calif., the overall half marathon winner, and to Alex de la Huerta from Mexico City, Mexico, who won the women’s title.

Now that the race weekend is over, it’s time for everyone to celebrate victory and look back on the sights and sounds from the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon.

If you would like more information on the 2015 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend or other runDisney event weekends, visit runDisney.com.

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Serves Up College Basketball Feast For Thanksgiving Weekend

posted on November 18th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


If you or someone in your family likes Division 1 college basketball, then you might want to consider spending a portion of your Thanksgiving holiday weekend at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Once again Disney welcomes the Orlando Classic, a premiere pre-season basketball tournament hosted by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, from November 27-30.

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This year, National Championship contenders Kansas and Michigan State headline the event and are joined by teams with the ability to make a run in the tournament including Tennessee, Marquette, Georgia Tech, and Rhode Island. No other preseason tournament can say that the teams have combined for 28 Final Four appearances.

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Click here for additional tournament information and to purchase tickets.

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Trust Your Training – The Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation Finisher Medals Revealed

posted on November 12th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


For those training for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation, you might be at that point in your training where you are asking yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Well today I can show you one reason, the latest edition of amazing runDisney finisher medals.

For the first time I am excited to reveal the inaugural finisher medals for Star Wars race weekend, January 15-18 at Disneyland Resort. This is not a Jedi mind trick. These ARE the medals you’re looking for…

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Star Wars 5K finishers will receive a colorful medallion featuring everyone’s favorite protocol droid, C-3P0. The Star Wars 10K medal is pentagon hexagon shaped and prominently features a Stormtrooper.

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The Star Wars Half Marathon medal may test your Star Wars knowledge. Those familiar with Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope will recognize that the medal is influenced by the Medal of Bravery presented to Battle of Yavin heroes Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.

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For those taking on the Rebel Challenge and running the Star Wars 10K on Saturday and the Star Wars Half Marathon on Sunday, you will take home a third medal to acknowledge your accomplishment. The Rebel Challenge medal features a spinner medallion highlighting the good and evil in the galaxy: Darth Vader representing the dark side of the Force and Yoda representing the light side of the Force.

The Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation Medal Rebel Challenge medal The Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation Medal Rebel Challenge medal

As Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.” If you do you will claim your inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend medals at the finish line.

May the Force be with you.

A limited number of registrations for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend remain open through groups and charities. For more information on this and other race weekends, visit runDisney.com.

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Runners Enjoy a Full Menu at the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

posted on November 11th, 2014 by Robert Hitchcock, PR Manager/Content Producer, runDisney


Despite wet conditions Saturday night, thousands of runners kept their “reservations” and participated in the Fifth Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort. Exciting finishes, a wedding proposal, costumes and magical runDisney memories were all on the menu.

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After an exciting start at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and covering 13.1 miles through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, 21-year-old Chris Sorrick of St. Petersburg, Fla., was the first to cross the finish line. It was his first ever half marathon victory. Jenn Berry, 34, of Denver, Colo., was the top women’s finisher. Berry’s victory was twice as magical; she was the first place women’s finisher at the Disneyland Half Marathon presented by Cigna in September.

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Rain did not dampen the runDisney spirit for the thousands of runners who followed our winners. From our favorite “Frozen” characters to a wine bottle and spaghetti and meatballs, runners showed their creativity and Disney Side with their costumes. Shouts of joy, high fives, choreographed finishes and tears of happiness were all served up at the finish line. And for one runner this night was just a little more memorable and magical. Krystyna Hanley of Buffalo, N.Y., was surprised by her boyfriend Andrew Masterson at the finish line. Standing in the rain and in front of thousands of screaming fans, Masterson asked Hanley to join him for the marathon of life and to be his wife. Before getting a finishers medal she received a diamond ring. Oh, by the way, she said yes!

I hope you take a moment to watch our recap video and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Fifth Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. I invite you to join in the fun and create your own runDisney memories and I look forward to seeing you cross a runDisney finish at a future event.

To make your reservation for an upcoming runDisney race weekend, visit runDisney.com.

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